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British Foreign Secretary:  Fight Against Terror is Not War Against Islam - 2003-01-09


British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has told Indonesians that the war on terror is a war between order and chaos rather than a clash between the West and the Islamic world. The British government is keen to tell the Islamic world that the war on terror is not a war between the West and Muslims.

With that message, British Foreign Secretary Jack arrived in Indonesia Thursday as part of a three-nation tour of Southeast Asia.

Mr. Straw said the bomb planted by Islamic extremists on Indonesia's holiday island of Bali, which killed almost 200 people, shows terrorism is a global threat to all nations, including Muslim nations such as Indonesia.

He said the divide in the world is not between Islam and the West, but rather between order and chaos.

Mr. Straw went on to say that the two greatest threats to order were international terrorism, and rogue regimes, such as Iraq, trying to accumulate weapons of mass destruction.

"It just happens that Iraq is in a league of its own when it comes to the defiance of the United Nations," Mr. Straw added.

But in a meeting with Indonesian Foreign Minister Hassan Wirayuda, Mr. Straw was warned not to confuse the goal of disarming Iraq with removing Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein from power.

The possibility of an invasion to disarm Iraq is deeply unpopular in Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation.

Analysts say that Mr. Straw could have damaged his cause by recasting the war as a clash between order and chaos. Many Indonesians are deeply suspicious of the current world order and are unlikely to see much attraction in an appeal to defend a system they believe treats them unfairly.

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